A year ago, a knitting friend got me into knitting bears for the Mother Bear Project, which delivers hand-knit and crocheted bears to kids around Africa who have been affected by HIV/AIDS. http://www.motherbearproject.org/
I think at the very beginning, I started making the bears partly to pacify my friend, but the project quickly grew on me and in 2013 I pledged to knit 12 bears. I did fine, chugging away at the bears in between other projects, and well before my self-imposed deadline, I had my 12 bears finished and sent off to Minnesota, where the Mother Bear Project is headquartered. There they check the bears for loose ends, choking hazards, etc., and adorn each bear with a heart on its chest before it’s packed up and sent off to new owners in Africa. OH, the box below only pictures TEN bears, because I was able to deliver 2 in person at the Mother Bear Project booth at Stitches West. 🙂
For 2014, I decided to step it up a little bit. My goal for this year is to knit 14 bears, but this time I’ll send them off in smaller increments, instead of waiting until all of them are ready. So far I have 4 bears finished, which is great! I was able to get ahead of schedule due to no big projects happening just after I finished all my holiday knitting/sewing/crocheting, and it was so easy to pick up some brown yarn and start another bear when I really needed to knit something. I actually felt some kind of bear withdrawal, and my kids noticed it too, and actually chastised me for knitting socks or other things during their bath, instead of bears! :0
These first four bears… the first was done in some stash exchange acrylic and too-big needles, and the reverse stockinette hood had curled until today, when I fixed it with a row of single crochet. From the second to fourth, I was hit by a desire to knit Hogwarts-themed bears! So far only Gryffindor and Ravenclaw are represented, but just wait…. Oh, and the hood was designed by teekay on Ravelry. It’s very easy, and ohhhh so cute!
Mostly I knit the bears with stash yarn, and have received generous amounts of “bear yarn” at stash exchanges and knitters’ destashing, but I confess that I bought black yarn in order to knit my Hufflepuff bear, which is coming soon to a blog near you….
I think/hope that I’m going to surpass my goal of 14 bears for 2014. My competitive nature flared up when I found out that there’s a Hundred Bear Club, where you get a special pin when you’ve knit 100. At my current goal, I’ll make it eventually, but my competitive side wants to achieve it sooner rather than later. Besides, it’s so special to see my bears in the arms of sweet children who are really in need of some comfort, and who really, really love their bears.